Vigil held for pregnant woman murdered in Philadelphia

Authorities say Jessica Covington and her unborn baby were killed in a shooting on the 6100 block of Palmetto Street.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Jessica Covington had just returned home from her own baby shower when Philadelphia police say she was gunned down outside of her home in the city's Lawncrest neighborhood.

Family members tell Action News that Covington, 32, was seven months pregnant when she and her unborn child were killed Saturday on the 6100 block of Palmetto Street. The search is still on for her killer.

Jessica Covington



"We do believe it is a targeted shooting. It's obvious there was not a robbery here. The victim had just returned home from her own baby shower, had gotten her mother into the house, and that's when this incident occurred," said Joanne Pescatore, the assistant supervisor of the homicide and non-fatal shootings unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

On Monday night, loved ones packed the courtyard of the Lawncrest Community Center to remember Covington.

"She was well-loved as you can see," said Tina, who didn't want to give her last name. "She was all about family and all about her friends."

"I actually had the privilege of watching her grow up," added family friend Matia Osnee. "She was an angel. She was a sweetheart."

"I really can't believe this happened to Jessica," family friend Jivonna Taggert said. "I really can't believe that, and this was her only child."

District Attorney Larry Krasner got emotional, his voice breaking, as he asked witnesses to come forward earlier in the day. He says detectives are working around the clock to find the gunman.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw called the murder a "heinous crime," adding that it highlights the intentional lack of regard that we are seeing for humanity.

Lucretia Parker told Action News she knew Covington all her life.

She had a message for the person responsible.

"You're an evil person. Turn yourself in. You're evil. The baby didnt even get a chance to breathe on its own yet," Parker said.

Anti-violence leaders say people need to practice personal responsibility.

"We can't keep asking (Commissioner) Outlaw, the mayor and everybody else to do for us what we have to do for ourselves," said Colwin Williams, the street supervisor for Philadelphia Cure Violence. "When my women and children are under siege, what does that say about me as a man?"

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"This heinous crime has sent shock waves throughout the country, and also highlights the intentional lack of regard that we are seeing for humanity," Commissioner Outlaw said.



According to data from the City of Philadelphia, there have been more than 2,000 shooting victims so far this year in the city. Two hundred forty-two of those victims were women.

Data also shows that a total of 50 women died from gun violence this year. That's double the number of women killed last year in Philadelphia.

Police are offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in Covington's murder. That's up $30,000 for what is usually offered in city homicide investigations.

Anyone that can help the investigation is urged to call police at 215-686-TIPS.

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6abc and WHYY team up for a town hall on the gun violence crisis in Philadelphia, which has claimed more than 345 lives this year.



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